7 Things American Travelers Need to Understand

If this is the first time you’ll be traveling overseas, you can expect a little of the unexpected. A big part of the fun of travel is what you learn and discover along the way. However, the fun stops pretty quickly when you step on cultural toes, break the law or end up in financial trouble because you were unaware of local customs or regulations. Here are 7 things every American needs to know before crossing the pond:

Bring-CashLjupco Smokovski / Shutterstock

1. Bring Cash

Of course, carrying a fat wallet might draw the wrong sort of attention. However, if you go to a foreign city or town expecting debit and credit services at local markets, you’re likely to be disappointed, and quite possibly hungry with no chance of buying food. Do your research in advance to find out how the locals pay for food and services.

Buy-the-GuideLanguage-Books-Before-You-ArriveDmytro Zinkevych / Shutterstock

2. Buy the Guide/Language Books Before You Arrive

Tourist oriented destinations might anticipate travelers stopping at local bookshops for maps, city guides and language translation books. Don’t presume this to be true of all places. Arriving prepared, especially with a book to help you be understood by others that don’t speak English, is priceless.

Local-Customs-Dont-Always-Make-Sense-but-Respect-Them-AnywaysCelig / Shutterstock

3. Local Customs Don’t Always Make Sense, but Respect Them Anyways

We might think it strange that pointing our feet at someone, chewing gum or taking someone’s picture without consent is highly offensive or disrespectful in certain cultures. Hand gestures like ‘OK’ or thumbs up are also considered provocative in some places. Because something doesn’t offend us doesn’t change the fact that it offends others. Try to be sensitive to local social culture and you’re more likely to have a positive experience while visiting the area.

PAGE 1 OF 3
SHARE ON

Advertisement

Mini Guide to Thailand

Thailand is affectionately called the “Land of Smiles” and for good reason: everyone seems to genuinely welcome visitors. The country is the most visited in Southeast Asia, offering a wide range of attractions, cultural experiences, and amazing biodiversity. The country is a newly industrialized economy with a high level of human development. So, it’s easy to understand why it attracts so many tourists when they can have a top-notch experience without having to spend a fortune.

Mini Guide to Indonesia

Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world with just over 17,000 islands. It has a population of roughly 261 million people, though over half lives on the island of Java. The nation has a long trading history with other Asian countries and has also been invaded by the Dutch and English Empires. Indonesia is therefore a melting pot of cultures with the largest Muslim population in the world, but also with strong influences from Hinduism and Buddhism, particularly in Bali. It’s also a nature lover’s paradise, with plenty of fauna, volcanoes, beaches, and diving sites.

Mini Guide to Cuba

Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean at 109,884 square kilometers, and the second-most populous. It consists of the island of Cuba, Isla de la Juventud, and many small archipelagos.